It’s not too late to change to whom you belong!

September 29, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
(John 15:19 (NIV))

Have you ever wanted fame and fortune?

Have you ever wanted to be in the spotlight and adored by countless numbers of people?

After reading the words that Jesus spoke, aren’t you glad that this never happened?

When the world loves you, you are probably pushing the proverbial envelope as to what is “new and trendy.” This is simply another way of saying how flagrantly can you sin and lead others to sin? This basically reinforces the simple fact that the world loves sin. Anyone who flaunts it and shows others new ways to sin is going to get their proverbial fifteen minutes of fame. If you are really good at it, you make a career out of leading people down a path that they shouldn’t venture down.

These are the people who belong to the world, but you don’t have to be in the public eye to belong to the world. You can simply be a follower of someone who is. You can simply be the “cool” person who always has something going on that makes others want to be like them. The world loves those who rush headfirst into the sin that is the latest trend.

That is why the world hates Jesus and those who follow Him!

When the world says that to be loved you have to sin and flaunt it, Jesus tells us that to truly be loved, we simply turn to Him and repent of our sin.

When the world says that to live life to the fullest, you have to grab for all that you can get, Jesus tells us that life to the fullest only comes through Him.

I could go on with examples, but it is clearly obvious that what the world wants and what God wants are polar opposites. They are so far apart that we can never bridge the gap from the sinful world to God on our own strength and on our own righteousness. It is true that if you are loved by the world, and that in turn you love the world, it is still possible to repent. You can turn to Jesus and forsake all that the world has put in your way.

Repent!

It’s not too late to change to whom you belong!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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This a a fantastic reason to be thankful!

August 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
     his love endures forever.
(Psalms 118:1 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world. give thanks to the Lord!

To those who do not profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, that may sound completely counter to what you would expect. If you find yourself asking why you should give thanks when prices are high; if you find yourself asking why you should give thanks when people are still reeling from the global pandemic; if you find yourself asking why you should give thanks when there are wars and rumors of wars, and when evil is called good and good is called evil, and when there are more extremes in the world than you can count, then it is time to give thanks to the Lord!

He is good!

His love does endure forever!

For those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, we know that all of this has been foretold. We have a loving God who has told us from the beginning the things that would happen at the end. He does not want us to be alarmed. He does not want us to be caught off guard. He wants us to be vigilant and prepared for the things that He has told us would happen so that when they happen we will know that He is in control.

If you have been led to this devotional and do not know Jesus, I want to ask you a few questions.

Do you have a feeling that something is just not right in the world?

Do you see moral depravity on the increase and wonder what is going on?

Do you have a feeling that what we used to know as normal will never return?

You are not alone. The members of the Body of Christ are feeling it too. We know that the Lord is unfolding His plans and that the time is rapidly approaching when He will judge the world. I don’t have the time to explain in detail just how this happens. Just know that it will happen. There has never been a more urgent time to repent and accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior than now. Do you know where you will spend eternity? Do you think that you are a good person. No one is good except God.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

Give thanks to God for sending us His Son to bring us salvation.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

God loves us enough to offer us eternal life through His love that endures forever.

This a a fantastic reason to be thankful!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found your refuge and shield?

August 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

You are my refuge and my shield;
    I have put my hope in your word.
(Psalms 119:114 (NIV))

This passage is sandwiched right in the middle of two very interesting passages.

I hate double-minded people,
    but I love your law.
(Psalm 119:113 (NIV))

The Psalmist starts off with what he hates, but quickly counters with what he loves. He lays open his heart to the Lord by describing the things that he wishes were not around him. He then quickly counters this with the very thing that he longs to always be in the midst of.

Away from me, you evildoers,
    that I may keep the commands of my God!
(Psalm 119:113 (NIV))

Again, we see that the Psalmist longs for evil to be completely removed from his presence so that he can focus on God and His Word.

Nestled between these two verses is a passage where the Psalmist opens up his heart completely to the Lord. In the midst of double-minded people, he takes refuge in the Lord. In the midst of evildoers, he keeps the commands of the Lord. He is not swayed by those who are double-minded and those who do evil. He keeps his eyes firmly on the Lord.

With all that is happening in the world today, do you hate those who are double-minded? Do you desire to flee from those who do evil? Do you long to find refuge in what you love? Do you long to walk humbly in obedience to God’s law? Do you turn to the Lord for shelter and protection? Is your only hope found within His word?

Think about what the Psalmist was portraying in these three passages. He is surrounded by evil, yet he finds complete shelter and hope in the midst of these things by focusing only on the Lord. It doesn’t matter what comes before or what comes after. He is safe and secure in the midst of all troubles because he trusts in the Lord. Is that what you desire when you find yourself in the midst of double-mindedness and evil? Is this what you desire when the whole world is falling apart? Is this what you desire even when things are going good? Have you found shelter in what you love?

Have you found your refuge and shield?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you truly taken refuge in the Lord?

July 8, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
(Psalms 18:30 (NIV))

Have you truly taken refuge in the Lord?

Think about that question, for your eternity lies in your answer.

Do the ever-increasing number of events unfolding in this world have you worried, or are you at complete peace that defies all worldly logic? Do you see the extremes that people will go to when things don’t go as they desire, even when their desires are far from godly? Do you find yourself heartbroken because these people have believed the lie from the enemy? Are you saddened when someone curses God? I recently saw a video that had a segment where a man about fifty years old got right in the lens of the camera and in a very demonic voice proudly proclaimed that he liked killing babies!

We are told that the wheat and the tares will grow up evenly. We are told that good will be called evil and evil will be called good. We are told that a great delusion will fall over those who do not fear the Lord. We are told that there will be wars and rumors of wars. We are told that people will be lovers of themselves!

I personally believe that my last sentence is the root cause of everything since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. We want to do what we want to do and we want everyone to accept what we want to do. We have come to the point where we love ourselves so much that we fail to even have any glimmer of love for anyone else. I don’t know about you, but this sounds just like the enemy when he was cast out of heaven. Satan wanted to be in control and he wanted to do things his way. Does this sound familiar to you?

There are two very distinct ways that we can be in respect to a relationship with the Lord. We can deny, despise, reject, and curse Him, or we can run to His open arms and find love, redemption, grace, mercy, and refuge. Now is the time to run to His open arms with a repentant heart. Do it before it is too late!

Once again I need to ask one very important question.

Have you truly taken refuge in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t focus on the things of this world!

June 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie
(2 Thessalonians 2:11 (NIV))

Is it just me, or are more and more people believing the lies of the enemy?

Have you ever stopped to consider why God would send a powerful delusion? I recently heard an explanation for this, and it is not because God has forsaken these people. It is because these individuals have made up their minds and they have forsaken God and His truths. They have completely rejected God and His offer of salvation. They love their sin more than they love themselves, and more importantly, they hate God.

They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
(2 Thessalonians 2:10b (NIV))

In my lifetime, I have seen lifestyle choices go from an attitude of shock to one of encouragement. I have seen a faith in Jesus go from a public embrace to a public ridicule. I have seen far more than these things and all of them are so much on the increase that it makes my head spin. It is for these reasons that I asked if more and more people are believing the lies of the enemy. Are we seeing the parable of the wheat and the tares unfolding right before our eyes?

My heart is heavy for those who have rejected God. We are now seeing that those who reject God are not even willing to have a conversation. They are so completely overrun with hatred of anything that speaks of God’s righteousness. Sadly, it appears that they have made their decision. As followers of Christ, we are called to make disciples, but we are also told that we are to draw the proverbial line in the sand.

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
(Matthew 10:14-15 (NIV))

Don’t focus on the things of this world!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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All of this can be yours!

June 8, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Even though I walk
     through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
     for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
     they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
     in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
     my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me
     all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
     forever.
(Psalms 23:4-6 (NIV))

I love how the Lord gives you a word that you need to hear. I also love that His Word applies just as much today as it did when it was originally given to the one who wrote it down.

With all that is going on in the world, do you feel that you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death? I realize that all throughout human history, we have experienced hardships, but something feels so much different than anything that I have experienced in my life. Things are rapidly accelerating and the events are all converging on the period of time that we have been told about – the end of the age!

Does that instill fear within you, or do you find comfort in knowing that what is transpiring has been told to us long ago? Do you find comfort in knowing that God is unfolding His timeline according to His Will and according to His perfect timing? Perhaps the question that I need to ask is one of a more personal nature. In essence, do you find yourself looking up as things unfold? Do you find yourself longing for the glorious moment when you will be in His presence or does this thought bring fear to your heart? We have nothing to fear if we will only accept the grace and mercy freely given to us through the cross. There has never been a more pressing time in your life to accept the gift freely given to all who will simply acknowledge that they are a sinner in need of a Savior.

We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but we can place our faith in the One who holds all tomorrows in His hands. When you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, all of these things recorded by David will be yours and you, too, will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!

All of this can be yours!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to love like Jesus?

May 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 (NIV))

How many people do you know for whom you would give up your life in order to save theirs?

If you are like most people, that number is relatively small and is probably limited to immediate family and maybe a few close friends. Some of us may even venture to say that we would do it for the greater good of humanity, but in all honesty, self preservation is a powerful human trait and not many of us would actually carry through with what we profess.

Jesus did!

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Jesus willingly laid down His life for anyone who has lived or will ever live just so that they can have their sins washed clean! He laid down His life for His friends. He laid down His life for you and I.

What makes us His friends?

You are my friends if you do what I command.
(John 15:14 (NIV))

What does Jesus command?

This is my command: Love each other.
(John 15:17 (NIV))

If we simply rely on our own human nature, we cannot love each other. We need help. We need to admit that we are sinners in need of a Savior. We must be willing to repent and follow Jesus. We must be willing to set our selfish natures aside and live our lives as Jesus lived His. We must be willing to follow Jesus and love those whom He loves. We must be willing to show that love in ways that may go beyond our comfort zones.

Are you willing to love like Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus loves me this much!

April 11, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 (NIV))

With just a few days left before we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, there is not a better passage to explain why Jesus went to the cross. We were lost in our sin and in need of a Savior, so God sent Jesus to save us by paying the debt owed for our sin. Our sinful nature separated us from God, so the Lord devised a plan to take all the sin upon Himself so that we could be free from the bondage of sin and death. There is no greater love that has ever been shown than this act of loving redemption and salvation.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

When you were a child, did you ever stretch your arms way out to the side and tell someone that you loved them this much? That is exactly what Jesus did when He hung on the cross for you and I. He was telling the whole world that He loves us this much. His outstretched arms also tell us that He is waiting with open arms to embrace us as we embrace the grace and mercy that He freely gives to all who will simply accept. His open arms welcome us into the family of God as brothers and sisters and not as servants or slaves.

The next time that you need to remind yourself of just how much the Lord loves us, simply stretch out your arms like you did when you were a child and simply say, “Jesus loves me this much!”

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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But, on the third day . . .

April 7, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 (NIV))

We are at that time of year when everyone knows of the celebration of what we call Easter. To be honest with you, I don’t like that name for the greatest event in all of history. We have allowed the name of an Assyrian goddess of war and sexual love to be the namesake of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. Isn’t it just like the enemy to pervert and lie about something so wonderful and glorious as the resurrection of the Son of God?

But, enough of my ranting!

Let’s look at all that Jesus did and why we, as the Body of Christ, have a day to remind us of the greatest gift of all time.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

I could add many more passages, but we know that Jesus came into this world to pay the price for our sins through His death on the cross. He came to redeem the descendants of Adam, who condemned all to sin. He came to free us from the law of sin and death. He came to set the captives free!

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
(Romans 5:18-19 (NIV))

I am eternally thankful for what Jesus did when He died on the cross, but that is not the end of the story.

But, on the third day . . .

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is love your goal?

March 15, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
(2 Peter 1:5-7 (NIV))

As believers, we look at these qualities and desire to possess them, to make them an integral part of our lives, but have you ever thought of them as stepping stones to the ultimate godly characteristic? If you read the passage as it was written, they build one upon the other until you get to the desired end – love!

What do you think of when you hear the word “love?”

Is love the ultimate desire in your life or is your life tainted by the world’s definition of love? Do you associate love only with romantic or familial affection? Perhaps you are capable of extending love to those beyond your initial inner circle and can show love to people who are merely acquaintances. Is there more to what God defines as love?

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:8 (NIV))

Do you realize that this can be summarized as follows? If you do not show love as God defines love, then you have an ineffective and unproductive partial knowledge of Jesus!

Ouch!

Did that hit home?

I know that it does for me.

We like to think that God would have sent Jesus into this world if we had been the only sinner in need of a Savior, and, to be completely honest with you, I am sure that He would have. However, we are not the only one who needed a Savior.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

God’s love is available to any who will simple accept it, but we are not called to hold onto it for ourselves. That is completely selfish and shows a total lack of love. We are called to show God’s love to others. It is God’s desire for us to mature in our faith so that we can be a witness to anyone and everyone whom we meet. That should also be our desire, our goal in our walk of faith.

Is love your goal?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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